Cuffing your pant legs can bring style to almost any outfit or perfectly accentuate your kicks. But there’s methodology behind every cuff, and it all starts when you buy a pair of pants. Make sure to buy an inseam length that is one to two inches longer than your normal inseam, giving you plenty of space to make the cuff without turning your pants into capris. Cropped pants are cool but usually only in summer months, when you can wear huaraches, loafers or sandals without worrying about freezing your feet and ankles off.
Denim weights are also important to keep in mind. Denim weight refers to how much the fabric weighs per yard. So, a pair of 12.5-ounce denim jeans are made from a material that weighs 12.5 ounces per yard. The heavier the weight, the thicker the material and the more durable. We recommend not going higher than 14.75 ounces when cuffing your pant leg (and that goes for duck canvas as well).
If you go upwards of that, the material doesn’t take the fold as readily and can bunch up, making your pants look less cuffed and more rolled (in a bad, not so becoming way). As for the cut of the pant, you can try wider, boot-cut styles if that's what you usually wear, but be warned that cuffs added to already wide pants will look even wider, because although you can technically cuff any cut of pant, it works best with ones that are straight or slightly tapered. Lastly, if you dress for an era that isn't your own, meaning your closet is full of vintage or period-specific shapes, it's OK to leave the cuff a little messy; it adds character.
The Four Most Common Cuff Types
- The Pinroll (for low-top shoes)
- The Simple Roll (for all jeans)
- The Skinny Roll (for tighter jeans)
- The Iron Worker (for wide-fitting jeans and boots)
The Pinroll works best with shoes that are slimmer and narrower, like oxfords or simple white sneakers. Stay away from the pinroll with boots or bulky sneakers with a thick sole.
Take about an inch of fabric between your thumb and forefinger on the instep side of your pants so that the rest of the hem is snug against your ankle.
Fold the material towards you, against the leg, to create a diagonal line of material.
Cuff the pant by making two folds of the hem. Make sure to smooth out the cuff as you make each fold.
The Simple Roll
The Simple Roll is likely the most versatile on our list. Good with almost any shoe, the simple roll also works with most fabric types and weights.
Take the hem of your pant and make one fold up about two inches.
Smooth out the material to make a nice flat cuff.
Take the top of the cuff and fold the hem in behind the back, towards the pant leg.
Smooth out the cuff to create one uniform fold.
The Skinny Roll
As its name implies, the Skinny Roll works best with tighter fitting jeans. Like the Pinroll, be sure to stay away from boots and wider-cut sneakers. Also, try to stay away from thicker fabrics, as they don’t fold as tightly and tend to bunch up.
Take just the hemmed seam at the bottom of your pant leg and fold it up to create a thin, small cuff.
Fold the cuff up again and smooth out the fold.
Repeat step 2 until desired length is reached. (Don’t turn your pants into knickers.)
The Iron Worker
The Iron Worker is the perfect fold for long raw denim or heavyweight canvas pants. This fold looks great with boots and is almost always accompanied by a beard and a flannel.
Take the hem of your pant and make a large cuff approximately four and a half to five inches in width.
Smooth out the cuff. (Can also be ironed to create a perfect flat fold.)
Repeat step two if desired, but never make more than two cuffs with the Iron Worker. Your pants should never be cuffed above your calf unless you are cycling.